Talking wine and food with Kevin Geeting of Country Heritage

by | People, Q&A

One sip was all it took. Winemaker Kevin Geeting’s career trajectory diverged after receiving a mathematical science degree from Trine University in Angola, Ind. At a convention, Geeting gave in to a colleague’s insistence on tasting a 1998 Wynns Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon – a wine that altered the course of his life. 
 
Captivated by the complexities inherent in wine, Geeting dove into oenology literature, then ventured into amateur winemaking and decided to make it a career. Transitioning from apprentice to assistant winemaker, he refined his skills at a Virginia vineyard before returning to his hometown of Auburn, Ind., and taking on the head winemaker position at Country Heritage Winery & Vineyard in LaOtto.
 
What’s the inspiration behind Country Heritage?  
Jeremy and Jennifer Lutter, the owners of Country Heritage Winery & Vineyard, are lifelong farmers, having grown up on family farms in LaOtto. In 2000, they purchased a 12-acre blueberry farm. Wineries came and asked for the excess blueberries to make wine, and they decided to try it themselves. They enjoyed the craft so much that they expanded their business into grapes. The vineyards and land have been in Jeremy’s family for over a century.  
  
How would you describe your winemaking style or philosophy? 
As the largest vineyard in the state, we grow as much fruit as possible. We take pride in our wines, testing that the grape variety will flourish in our soil. Additionally, we do not use chemicals to filter our wines, keeping them natural and clean.

Any advice for home cooks who want to up their game with wine pairings? 
Start with one item you love: the wine or the food. You want to be sure the wine and food have the same intensity so one does not overpower the other. Feel free to try an ingredient or wine that isn’t at the top of your list to pair with the one you love. It is incredible how the right balance makes both the food and wine taste better. 
  
What food and Country Heritage wine pairings do you suggest?
LaCrescent with lemon pepper chicken. Ice Age with Key Lime cheesecake; Marquette, Petite Pearl or Norton with pizza. Frontenac Blanc with ceviche. Traminette with soy sauce or tamari-based foods and the Brianna with a fruit salad.  

What are some favorite ingredients you like to cook with? 
I get excited in the spring for grilling, especially with fresh ingredients. Asparagus is at the top of my list since it is tender and plentiful.     
  
What items are always in your fridge at home? 
Minced garlic, sour cream, salad ingredients, cheese, ranch dressing, salsa and pickles.  

If you could choose a favorite place in Indiana to visit, where would that be and what would you eat?
We love to go to Pokagon in Angola to hike, ride horses or toboggan. We always stop at Scoops ice cream; it’s a tradition for our family. 

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